Our friend Linda, @MissDazey42, is a retired business owner, with experience in sales, market research, etc. (Her motto: “If I had my life to live over, I’d pick more daisies.”) Linda shared this story about her experience with a local business for our series on mistakes small businesses make.
Two years ago, I had the best experience with a small local shoe store when they special ordered a pair of shoes. They carry the brand of shoes I need for my arthritic feet. I told everyone about this wonderful caring store, including on a blog.
I went back and ordered another pair in middle of December; I was told it would take 2 weeks. OK, no hurry. By the middle of January, there were still no shoes. I called and the very young girl said she would tell the owner. OK, it’s now mid February, no shoes and no return calls from owner. I called again and got the same song and dance.
Yesterday since I was near there, I stopped by. The owner was on her cell phone at the desk, but the second she heard my name she went darting into the storage room. It was so very embarrassing for the young salesperson. All she could say was my shoes have been ordered. I asked if I could cancel, she went to ask the boss and got a NO. (By the way, the order was prepaid.)
I am a big promoter of good customer service. It’s a shame a local store that has a one of a kind specialty service has changed so much. It’s been in business here for years. Next time I will simply order the same shoes online at a lower price.
Read more from Linda at Elder Generation.
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Ari Herzog says
Heh. That reminds me of an anecdote I heard last week from a self-published author. There are two local bookstores here. The author successfully held a book reading and signing at one of the bookstores, but the owner of the other store said they don’t work with self-published authors.
The author responded, incredulously, that she would have seen increased sales from hosting him but she held her ground.
I was shocked.
Becky McCray says
Ari, this is part of our mission here. The quality of small businesses varies enormously. I’d like to think we are helping a few to improve. An ambitious goal, I think.
Wes Masters says
It’s too bad more companies don’t realize that if they went the extra mile to take care of their customers they would probably have more customers. Seems so simple. I guess that’s why so few businesses make it.
purchase order financing blog says
I wonder what would have happened if she’d asked to speak with the owner? I know that the owner was apparently evading her, but still.
This has to be the exception though – small businesses usually give more personalized service than larger ones….
Remember there was this large retailer that had a customer demand a refund for a tire with the only catch being that this retailer doesn’t sell tires?
Now THAT’s customer satisfaction.
While this doesn’t apply to this particular case (the owner is just an idiot), I think another problem is that frontline minimum wagers are not given any incentive to treat customers well. Customers end up taking their anger out on already low and overworked paid associates so heck if I were an associate, it would be tough to love these customers too (after all, do I get any incentives?).
And the solution to this problem is vague stuff like “leadership”.